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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  March 4, 2013 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

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them. the plan would ease the cuts on the pentagon, but give the pentagon $2 million more than the president asked for. republicans think about this, would keep all the austerity for the programs that the democrats don't want to see cut. but the cuts that they don't like would be mostly reversed. that's how they're going to fix it. to review, the sequester was supposed to be the equal pain for both parties. bipartisan dumbness. bipartisan arbitrariness. that was the whole point. that was the design. today house republicans said the parts we do not like, we think we're going to undo them. all the rest of it, the reduction in funds for housing
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programs could force people in emergency shelters out on to the street. the reduction in wic funding that could leave three quarters of a million low income women and children without benefits. when you're talking about wic, that means without infant formula. or 11% reduction in unemployment benefits for people not able to find a job. all of that will stay gone away. it's fine for all of that to have gone away. those cuts must be seen now as permanent. the things that the republicans will miss, they'll come back. house republicans today advancing a plan to undo the part of the sequester their party doesn't like, while keeping the part democrats do not like. which is just strategic genius. such a deal. why didn't i think of that. if every time i had to make a deal with somebody, the part they didn't like about it, they could undo afterwards and leave the part i didn't like in tact, i would make a lot more deals. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again tomorrow morning on the "today" show and then again tomorrow night for this show.
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mitt and ann romney have been spending a lot of quiet time at home with their secret tax returns since the presidential election. this weekend they decided to take their nightly dinner table conversation why mitt lost to fox news. which means i owe the romneys a small debt of gratitude to the romneys for this first segment, serving it up on a silver platter. >> good morning, y'all. >> he is the worst republican in the country. >> mitt romney sat down for his first interview. >> my heart said we were going to win. >> the great princess biline, mostly did. >> i'm mostly over it. >> i went through a number of my mistakes. >> corporations are people, my friend. >> i'm not concerned about the very poor. >> any -- >> i'm speaking, i'm speaking.
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>> had to be careful. >> he still can't quite explain that 47% comment. >> the enduring legacy of his campaign. >> what i said is not what i believe. >> not familiar with what i said, but i stand by what i said, whatever it was. >> mitt romney. >> i'm mitt romney. >> was viewed by suspicion by conservatives in the last election. >> can we drop a little bit of the pius bologna? the fact is, you ran in '894 and lost. >> he is the worst republican in the country. >> if mitt were there, we would not be facing sequestration. >> sequester day. >> shaking off a sequester hangover. >> the two parties could not agree. >> the sequester is now in effect. >> i don't know whether it's going to hurt the economy or not. >> are the two sides playing chicken with each other. >> the president got his tax hikes. the president got his tax hikes. he got his tax hikes. >> what about the next budget fight to avoid a government shutdown. >> the president doesn't believe in manufacturing another crisis.
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>> they won't do battle to fund the government. it takes the prospect of a government shutdown completely off the table. mitt and ann romney gave their first interviews since the presidential election, in which they proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the best man won. >> it was not just the campaign's fault. i believe it was the media's fault as well. is that he was not given -- being given a fair shake, people weren't allowed to see him for who he was. >> mitt insisted that this was not who he really was. >> there are 47% of the people who will vote for the people no matter what. there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent on government. so my job is not to worry about those -- i'll never be able to convince them they should take responsibility and compare for their lives. >> yeah, it was a very
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unfortunate statement i made. it's not what i meant. i didn't express myself as i wished i would have. >> just as he was trying to leave the 47% to take far behind him, mitt just couldn't resist this. >> obama care was very attractive. particularly those without health insurance. and they came out in large numbers to vote. >> the weakness that our campaign had, and i had, is that we weren't effective in taking my message primarily to minority voters. to hispanic americans, african-americans, other minorities, that was a real weakness. we did well with the majority of the population, not with minority populations, and that was a -- that was a failing. that was a real mistake. >> why do you think that was? >> well, i think the obama care attractiveness and feature was something we underestimated in -- particularly among lower incomes. and we just didn't do as good a job of connecting with that audience as we should have.
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>> romney did resist the temptation to join the conservative chorus condemning chris christie's praise of how president obama handled hurricane sandy. >> chris did what he thought was best for the people of his state. >> honest, as we sit here right now. do you wish he would have been a little less effusive in his support of president obama? >> i'm not going to worry about how chris was doing what he thought was best for the people of his state. i lost my election because of my campaign, not because of what anyone else did. >> joining me now, msnbc's krystal ball and steve kornacki. i want to play that last line of what he said. >> i lost my election because of my campaign, not because of what anyone else did. >> krystal that's the whole story right there. >> that is the whole story right there. he didn't seem to totally buy into that story.
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i mean, the truth is, he still can't explain his 47% comment. and in fact, it's because he still really believes that. and i think the obama care comment is so interesting, republicans for so long thought that obama care was the albatross that would be hung around the president's neck, it would be their key to winning the election. romney has decided that obama care was the golden goose that he was able to give all these gifts to minority voters and that was the key to victory. it was kind of a fascinating look at his psychology. >> steve kornacki nothing in there about, well, gee, i guess i was wrong on tax policy, and maybe it wasn't so great to have these secret tax returns and cayman islands accounts and foreign accounts and all that stuff, that no one. we've never seen a presidential candidate in modern times, who didn't release their tax returns and had all these sleazy foreign accounts that he never explained. there are some unique factors about the romney campaign, that
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the two romneys don't seem to understand are unique to them. >> well, romney did manage to -- win or lose, he did manage to get through the entire campaign outputting out any more of his tax returns. i don't think he's going to start now. i do think we can talk about whether it's health care, 47%, whether it's the tax returns, all the wealth gaffes he committed in the campaign and the interview yesterday. he didn't help himself in so many different ways. one thing he didn't say, and i haven't heard republicans saying in the wake of the november election. is that actually, they spent two years of that campaign basically assuming they were going to win because the economy was going to be so bad, and no incumbent president could win with the economy in that condition. the thing they ignored for the entire campaign and they're continuing to ignore. most political scientists who looked at the 2012 campaign said, you know what, these economic conditions are probably
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favorable enough for the incumbent to get re-elected. the economy is actually growing, the unemployment rate is high, but it's not as high as it was a year ago. generally, it's not a great recovery by any means, the economy was moving in the right direction, and obama was favored to win that election pretty much all along. >> let's listen to more of ann romney complaining about everything except the actual governing positions that were proposed by mitt romney in the campaign. >> the thing that was frustrated to me is that people didn't really get to know mitt for who he was. >> i'm going to pick up on that, there were reports that you and your oldest son tag were frustrated with the romney campaign, that they didn't let mitt be mitt. they didn't let him show his more open, compassionate side. true? >> of course, it was partly true, but it was not just the campaign's fault, i believe it was the media's fault as well. is that he was not being given a
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fair shake. people weren't allowed to see him for who he really was. >> david letterman invited mitt to come on the show and be mitt. and he was just refusing all sorts of opportunities like that. >> even now, he still can't sort of be comfortable, be introspective and let people in anyway. if ann romney wants to blame the media at all. she should be looking at conservative media. conservative media allowed them and the republican party to delude themselves into thinking this president was so weak, he could be beaten by a toaster oven, and this was going to be a landslide. and deluded them into believing that the president was hated and they could run on this just anti-obama message without offering any of their own ideas and win. so to the extent that she wants to look in that direction, i think that would be a worthy place to place at least a little bit of blame on the media. >> steve kornacki, you know who i think did the most important
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post election interview of a republican? >> i think i know who this is going to -- >> ooh, ooh, i know. >> it's mr. steve kornacki. gingrich as we know, can think, and every once in a while he's willing to do that, fairly, honestly, publicly. you got him to do it publicly. he said to you, among other fascinating things, i think conservatives got in the habit of talking to themselves to the extent to the degree which we believed the other side was kidding themselves. it turned out in the real world, we were kidding ourselves. >> obviously, that's that whole echo chamber crystal was talking about, gingrich talked about in classic gingrich fashion, he came up with the 25 thesis and he gave them the 25 guiding principles he came up with for reforming the party in the wake of the election.
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>> and some of them are sort of bashing washington. some talk more about reaching out to minority voters. nonwhite voters. one thing that he did mention to me in the interview was, how surprised he was on election day. i think he said like 5:30 he got calls with exit polls, and just -- he's sitting there with his wife, and they're seeing these numbers come in from all these different states. there's this sense of, we totally completely got this wrong, if you listened to gingrich in that interview, he said he thinks conservatives are more skeptical of their media outlets now. it is interesting to hear and be that introspective. >> with the republicans speeding as fast as they can, away from mitt romney, let's listen to governor jeb bush this morning with matt lauer declining to rule out running for president.
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>> i want to share my beliefs about how the conservative movement and the republican party can regain its footing. we lost our way. >> you clearly have not ruled out. you will not definitively rule out a run for president in the year 2016? >> i won't, but i'm not going to declare today either, matt. >> that is in effect a declaration of running for president? >> yeah, he sure sounds like he's running. he definitely sounds like he's running. and the immigration plan that he released also shows some positioning for a republican primary, endorsing a path to -- not a path to citizenship, but just a path to legal status is a way to undercut some of the other republicans who have taken further to the left positions on immigration. so he definitely looks like he's positioning himself, although politically, i think he would have been a lot better off at this moment, just keeping his mouth shut on the whole thing. >> krystal ball and steve kornacki, the man who got newt gingrich to tell the truth. thank you both very much. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up, more on mitt
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romney, from the man who gave us the 47% take video. james carter iv. and breaking news on a political sex scandal. two prostitutes who told a right wing website they spent professional time with a democratic senator now say that that was a lie and they were reading from a prepared script of lies they were asked to tell about that senator. and later, the diplomatic skip skills of dennis rodman. and seriously. seriously, why shouldn't the president call the nut who's running north korea and ask him to be not so crazy? that's coming up. and you have sent in some great suggestions on where dennis rodman should go next. i'll pick a winner coming up. asional have constipation,
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keep sending me your ideas on twitter, facebook about where dennis rodman should go next. i'll pick a winner coming up. the most valuable player in the 2012 presidential campaign. the man who brought us the mitt romney 47% video will join us. that's next. [ kitt ] you know what's impressive? a talking car. but i'll tell you what impresses me. a talking train. this ge locomotive can tell you exactly where it is, what it's carrying, while using less fuel. delivering whatever the world needs, when it needs it. ♪ after all, what's the point of talking if you don't have something important to say? ♪
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the man who brought us the most important piece of video of the presidential campaign is about to join us. i for one never grow tired of sees that video. let's take a look at the most important 26 seconds of the last presidential campaign. >> there are 47% of the people
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who will vote for the president no matter what. there are 47% who are with him, who depend on government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you name it. my job is not to worry about -- i'll never convince them they should take responsibility and care for their lives. >> joining me now, the grandson of the 39th president of the united states, james carter iv. i know you've said that you discovered this video by searching online. where did you find it on someone's facebook page? >> no, just on youtube, actually. >> it was on you, tube and you tracked down through youtube who actually made that video? >> it was a combination of youtube and twitter. i tried to -- i found other
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clips from the same event. they all had a weird static filter or blurry filter on them. i found a couple other clips, i tried to send messages through youtube, through all of the various account names, and then i was tweeting everything i found out about it, and it attracted the person who did it. and they followed me on twitter, and i recognized that their twitter name was the same as one of the youtube user names. and so i got in touch -- i direct messaged them over twitter and that's how we hooked up. >> the process you described took how long? >> four days. >> and so it was one person who had put all this stuff out there online? >> yes. >> and you've said it was not
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someone who paid $50,000 to attend the event which leaves us -- knows that everyone else there is working there, they are serving in some capacity there? >> right. >> okay. so that's as far as we're going to narrow it down. it seems like, what is the incentive for this person to remain anonymous at this point? >> i'm not sure about that really. i know that making the video and getting it out the way they did took a certain amount of guts. and i think it takes incredible discipline not to want to come out and be famous. >> yeah, i'm ready to shower that person with glory at the moment. >> exactly. >> any moment that person wants to step forward. as i think any other network is. >> it's a fascinating case of
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anonymity in that sense. you had a recent meeting, encounter with president obama, according to your grandfather, he's said publicly that the president gave you a big hug and kind of in some way acknowledged how valuable your work was to this campaign? >> well, i was standing in line for a handshake and a picture. there was a line of us, before an event that was in decatur, georgia. and my cousin, who's a state senator in georgia was in front of me in line. and after his picture ed turned around and introduced me to obama as the carter grandchild who had found the 47% video. obama said get over here, and put his arm around me.
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and thanked me several times for my support during the campaign, and then after all the pictures and stuff, went straight from that into now that we have a second term we can work on getting these kids what they need. it was an event for his pre-k proposal. and you know, the reason why i do this is because i think democratic policies are better. the fact that he tied it into a policy thing was -- i thought it was great. >> the 47% video is a policy video. it is an indictment of republican policy and intent. it's a very serious piece for us to have. before we go, i want to go back to anonymous, because i find this so intriguing, is it your sense that he put all -- whoever this is, he or she, put all this material out there in the hope that you or someone like you would find it, would track it down. and would get it this kind of
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attention? >> well, i don't think anybody could have imagined the kind of attention that finally came to it. but yeah, he was definitely -- they were definitely trying to get it out there. >> well, it got out there and it is my sense and many people's sense that it absolutely changed the nature of the campaign from that point forward. james carter iv, an honor to have you joining us tonight. as long as the person who made the video remains anonymous, you remain the only mvp of the 2012 campaign who we know by name. i'm ready to make you number two as soon as that other person comes forward. james, thanks very much. >> thank you for having me. coming up, the diplomacy of dennis rodman. i'll be joined by the new york times reporter who pieced together the story of how dennis rodman got into north korea. and the rodman proposal.
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sex, lies and videotape. we have breaking news in a senate sex scandal, and yes, we do have the videotape coming up. asional have constipation,
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get the blood tests. change your number. turn it up. for over 75 years people ...with geico... ohhh...sorry!. director's voice: here we go. from the top. and action for over 75 years people have saved money with gecko so.... director's voice: cut it! ...what...what did i say? gecko? i said gecko? aw... for over 75 year...(laughs. but still trying to keep it contained) director's voice: keep it together. i'm good. i'm good. for over 75...(uncontrollable lahtuger). what are you doing there? stop making me laugh. vo: geico. saving people money for over seventy-five years. gecko: don't look at me. don't look at me. none of this is necessary. it's happening because republicans in congress chose a loophole. just this week, they decided that providing special interest tax breaks is more important than protecting our military and middle class families from these cuts. there's a caucus of common sense
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out there, and i'm going to keep reaching out to them. the american people are weary of this. >> it sounds like john boehner isn't quite ready to join that congress. >> you like defense spending, that's going to be cut arbitrarily. you agree is this is stealth spending on the tax code. why not give on this, why not allow some revenues to come from tax reform. use defense spending and you unlock the key to getting entitlement cuts they would give you on tax reform. >> i want tax reform. we want to bring rates down for all americans. so that we've got a fairer tax code, but to arbitrarily pull out a couple tax expenditures and say, we ought to use that, every american knows washington has a spending problem.
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>> the president, is he not committed to spending? does his deal not include over $900 billion in spending cuts over 10 years? >> the president has asked for $1.3 trillion worth of increases in revenue, and only put up $850 billion worth of spending cuts. everybody in washington knows what the problem is, but nobody wants to address it. >> i've been here for 22 years, and i've watched presidents from both parties, i've watched leaders from both parties, kick this can down the road. >> well, that's what john boehner looks like when he's lying. 20 years ago, president clinton with democratic votes only -- john boehner voted against this, president clinton passed what was then a huge deficit reduction bill that included 50% tax increases and 50% spending cuts. one to one, tax increases to spending cuts. including medicare and medicaid
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spending cuts. and then pushed by newt gingrich when the republicans won back the house and senate. president clinton signed even more republican spending cuts into law. the team of clinton and gingrich in the 1990s did not kick the deficit can down the road, they kicked it out of the budget. they effectively eliminated the deficit, and had us on the way to actually building a budget surplus. a surplus that was going to be necessary to help financial future government spending, including two wars that no one knew were coming. that surplus was wiped out in the stroke of a pen when president bush signed his tax cuts into law. the tax cuts that have contributed mightily to our deficit and debts. tax cuts that were, of course,
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voted for by john boehner. joining me now are karen finney, former dnc communications director and ezra klein columnist for the washington post. both are msnbc analysts. it eliminates history that they lived themselves that some of them deserve credit for, which was what they actually did do in fighting deficits during the 1990s, that newt gingrich and president clinton both contributed a great deal to that effort. >> right, but that's not the strategy now. the strategy now seems to be driven far more by their fear of the tea party. and i mean that sincerely, there's no reason that john boehner, if he wanted to, he could stand up to the far right in his party, and he could be making those kinds of deals with president obama. there are enough democratic votes, there are enough moderate republicans, as we've seen time and again, to get those things done. time and again he seems like he's a man treading water, trying to stay one step ahead.
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they're on the senate side, these guys who are up for re-election are terrified of being primaried from the right. in the house, john boehner can barely control his caucus and they really have to get their act together and decide what are they for instead of just being against president obama which has been the primary strategy which is, what am i against? not what are they for, despite the rhetoric. >> i think there's some confusion in the public when they here the president say, i'm for tax reform, and then they hear john boehner say, i'm for tax reform. isn't the difference that they both are willing to get rid of a loophole, things like that in the tax code, but the republicans want to use the revenue from that to actually then lower tax rates and would not use the revenue for that purpose. is that basically the difference on tax reform? what they would each do with the
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revenue gained from it? >> right president obama is for revenue to cut the deficit. and republicans are for revenue only to cut taxes anew. it's a waffling thing. i spent a lot of time talking to republican policy people about it, i found it hard to understand the underlying logic on the republican position on the sequester. the republican budget says these tax expenditures, these things that barack obama wants to cut, that president obama wants to cut are equivalent to spending. he can take these things out of the tax code and get medicare cuts and social security cuts and protect defense and get a greater total quantity of deficit reduction. instead they will get none of those things and a smaller total of deficit reduction. they will be able to say they didn't break grover norquist's pledge. >> and karen, ezra did the breakthrough reporting last week on this when he found prominent
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member of the house who remains unnamed as of now. who did not realize what the president has actually been offering in terms of deficit reduction packages, including on the spending side, for example, chain cpi, adjustments to ways of changing the increases in social security payouts, that sort of thing. ezra discovered that they don't know what the president has very loudly and to his own risk within his party proposed. >> no, they don't know. they just know what the talking points are, and the talking points from the republicans are not factual based. they're not based in reality. not only do they know what the president is offering, this is also part of this sort of semantic mumbo jumbo that they have twisted themselves in knots, it's a lot like we were going through in the fall when we were having this semantic argument about whether or not letting tax cuts lapse is that raising taxes or letting tax cuts lapse? what can we call it? whatever we call it, we're going
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to have to live with it, and if we're raising taxes, we are going to anger grover norquist. these are the games these people are playing, rather than saying, let's see if we can live with any of this. >> thanks for filling in for me last week, i watched your friday show where you -- i just think brilliantly laid out this point about the exaggerated notions in washington about the power of the presidency in this crazy questioning that the president got last week about leadership from the president. why aren't you leading where the press very conveniently forgets the design of government, and how powerful the congress is, and i know of no way. there's nothing i've seen in what we're seeing in washington, that indicates anyway that i can see how the president can persuade john boehner to come to some kind of agreement or force him or do anything as the president said the whole jedi mind meld thing.
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>> thank you for letting me host the show. you should take your frizz off instead of watching it. >> i watched in extreme comfort. >> john boehner is elected by his own constituents. he's a grown man with his own ideas he's been pursuing for a long time. on the most basic level, when people hear, the president should lead, should do a little bit of introspection. how often have they taken some of these beliefs, through their entire force of their persuasion, changing their mind entirely, getting them to go back on their business interests, put their career in jeopardy, to entirely flip their minds on this? the president is not a king, and he's not a dictator, he does not have some sort of magic power over speaker boehner. there will be a compromise in our political system when the republicans wants to compromise and not before. because that is how it was designed to work.
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>> ezra, i've been saying that for the 20 years since i worked in the senate, and i never said it as clearly as you have. karen finney and ezra klein, thank you for joining me tonight. >> thank you. coming up, the diplomacy of dennis rodman, and in the rewrite tonight, sex, lies and videotape. we will show you the video of the latest senate sex scandal that might not actually turn out to be so scandalous. introducing new febreze stick & refresh
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nah, bro! i'm cool. i'm just chillmaxin'. is there something that you wanted? we can't just spend a little qt as a posse? on the download? dad, why are you talking like that? i was just hoping you would give me the last piece of bacon. holler! holla... i don't know. [ male announcer ] when it comes to common language we all speak bacon. the very best cuts naturally hardwood smoked. it's unanimous food. it's oscar mayer. and we have a winner on the question of where dennis rodman should go next. and that is isbeki-beki-stan-stan. i'll ask a diplomacy expert what's wrong with dennis rodman's proposal of president obama giving that guy a call. and next, in the rewrite,
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why the steam is going out of washington's latest political sex scandal. ] i've been out thee most of my life. you name it...i've hooked it. but there's one... one that's always eluded me. thought i had it in the blizzard of '93. ha! never even came close. sometimes, i actually think it's mocking me. [ engine revs ] what?! quattro!!!!! ♪ a talking car. but i'll tell you what impresses me. a talking train. this ge locomotive can tell you exactly where it is, what it's carrying, while using less fuel. delivering whatever the world needs, when it needs it. ♪ after all, what's the point of talking if you don't have something important to say? ♪
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gets caught in a sex scandal and has a spokesperson put out a statement saying, we're not going to respond to a completely false accusation? sometimes the accusation is completely false. on november 1st of last year, five days before the election, the conservative republican website, the daily caller did everything it possibly could to stop new jersey senator bob menendez from being re-elected by posting a story with this headline. women: senator bob menendez paid us for sex in the dominican republic. oh, my god. that story was accompanied by a video of a daily caller reporter asking a couple of questions through an interpreter of women who identified themselves as prostitutes about their experiences with senator menendez after showing them a photograph of the senator. [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> because she was paid money to be with him. [ speaking foreign language ] >> she was promised 500, and she was paid only 100.
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he gave money to another guy who gave her money. [ speaking foreign language ] >> she saw him give money to the person she knows who connected the two, and that person is the one that gave her the money. >> that's exactly how the daily caller presented the video, with the face blocked out like that. the daily caller got what it wanted when local media picked
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up that story and that is when senator menendez' spokesperson issued this statement, we're not going to respond to a completely false accusation. that is normally what politicians say when they're completely guilty of the accusations. they usually want to respond when they're not guilty of the accusation. but when a bomb like this goes off, just five days before the election, it is a horrible problem for the candidate. the senator runs the risk that responding will actually make it a bigger story, the risk that responding will make more new jersey voters find out about that story. and so the menendez re-election campaign carried on as best it could as if nothing happened. and on november 6th, senator menendez won re-election with 59% of the vote.
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a 20 point lead over his republican challenger. the daily caller kept pushing prostitution stories about senator menendez after the election. and for the most part, the mainstream media, including this program, continued to ignore them, because as you can see in that video the journalistic standards applied to the case. at the daily caller, were shall we say unorthodoxed and experimental. there has been much coverage in the new york times of senator menendez' ethics problem. the times and others have covered the senators uncomfortably close relationship with a campaign contributor. the times has not included anything of the contributions. late today, the washington post posted this headline. escort says menendez
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prostitution claims were made up. the story by carol d. and air nesto londono tells us "an escort who appeared on a video claiming senator robin menendez paid her for sex has told dominican republic police says she was paid to make up the claims in tape recordings and has never met or seen the senator before. the woman identified a lawyer who approached her and a friend to make the videotape according to affidavits obtained by the post.
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that man has in turn another lawyer who gave him a script for the tape and paid him to find women to fabricate the claims the affidavits say. the post goes on to report in an affidavit obtained monday, one of the women on the tape who describes herself as an escort said she and a colleague were offered money by a lawyer to read from a script. the woman said she was surreptitiously videotaped. let's look at that again. [ speaking foreign language ] >> air nesto londono is the author of that washington post piece. when she was reading that, when
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she was on that video, because we can't see her face, we can't really quite tell. was she looking down, was she looking to her left reading a script? i don't know. if you're going to do a video like this, you might want to add credibility to it by showing us as much as you can. hiding the face if that's necessary. seeing the face would be helpful in answering the question of whether or not she was actually reading a script. now, there are a lot of good questions to ask bob menendez about his relationship to that donor mentioned in that new york times editorial, which is why the times has called for a senate ethics committee investigation. those questions involve the senator flying on the contributors private plane and various favors the senator appears to have done.
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but tonight, none of the good questions that reporters should be trying to ask senator menendez involve hookers. [ male announcer] surprise -- you're having triplets.
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you want obama to one thing, call him. >> he wants a call from president obama? >> that's right, he told me that. he said, if you can, dennis, i don't want to do war. he loves basketball. i'll say the same thing i said, obama loves basketball. let's start there, let's start there. >> here's the white house's oh, so serious response to freelance diplomat dennis rodman's suggestion that the president call the dictator who starves the people of north korea. >> the united states has direct
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channels of communications with the dprk. instead of spending money on celebrity sporting events to entertain the elites of that country. the north koreans should focus on the well being of its own people who have been starved, imprisoned and denied human rights. the united states has channels of communications directly, and those are the channels we choose to employ. >> joining me now, brian shelter of the new york times and steve clemens, washington editor of the atlantic. brian, you got the story today from the new york times of exactly how dennis rodman got in the country. how did they do that? >> they fought like diplomats, the advice, the staff who wanted to get back in north korea, they thought, what would the regime and north korea want? they love basketball, they love the chicago bulls, what about dennis rodman? they brought him, they did an exhibition basketball game and we know the rest. >> these were producers of a
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show -- an upcoming series on hbo that are trying to do this? >> that's right. >> hbo kicked in a little extra money to help may for the trip. they say this is a vice production, they're independent and doing their own thing. >> i'm sure hbo wishes that show was premiering this week. steve clemens let's go to the rodman proposal. why shouldn't the president just pick up the phone and call this guy and try to get a conversation going? >> well, look, there are two issues here, one is on the serious side, before the united states normalized with china, many years ago, under nixon, we had ping-pong diplomacy, that's what's been bouncing around in my mind while we scoff and mock about this incident. there are sometimes where these unusual moments give themselves and lend themselves to very unique moments of potential diplomacy. why this is the wrong moment is that north kor
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